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Create an outline for developing employees’ career paths

By Brianna Liestman

If you have quality employees you want to keep working for your business, you need to have a plan to develop them and lead them on a satisfying career trajectory. This plan has to be an actual plan, not just an “idea” for how you might do this in the future.

Recent interviews I have conducted for a couple recent articles, including one on finding and keeping good employees for our November issue, have driven this point home.

In the November article, I talked to Rob Soucy, president of Port Harbor Marine, a Boating Industry Top 100 dealer most recently ranked at No. 7. He talked about how he conducts performance analyses for certain employees to find out their plans, goals and aspirations, and he works with that employee to develop a plan for how to get there.

“It’s probably the hardest thing as a business owner, when it comes to our crewmembers, to do. There’s only so many opportunities,” Soucy said. “It’s a huge challenge but I think the most important thing is that you have that conversation.”

And in a conversation with Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha Marine Group, he talked about how Yamaha’s Service Skills training helps provide an opportunity for dealers to send employees to Yamaha for basic maintenance training on the company’s products so they can go back and start working as techs. He said it was both the dealers’ and the manufacturers’ jobs to create opportunities for young people to build a stable, long-term career.

“I think you’ve got to have an outline of how you’re going to develop a person over a period of time, just like you do in large corporations. At the same time, we have to create venues that enable that education while also reaching out to people who are looking for a career where people appreciate them,” he said.

So if you want to keep your best employees, dedicate to them like you would to any aspect of your business that you wanted to thrive: Invest in them, create a plan that allows them to grow and execute it.

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